Major Guitar Makers Face a Serious “Generational Identity” Problem

The electric guitar is presenting a generational identity crisis, which is due to the increase in the use of synthesizers, web applications, consoles and other devices, which are beginning to be more attractive to young people, compared to taking the instrument in their hands and creating the tunes.


The positioning of the electric guitar in the musical instrument market has been marked for many years, resulting in a large catalog of models for professional use and many others designed for those who decide to start in this world. There are also many collectible designs.

However, despite being considered a cult instrument for rock lovers, the fact that the rise of the electric guitar has suffered several ups and downs cannot be ignored. Let us remember that decades ago, with the emergence of alternative rock, the six-string instrument was replaced by the chords of acoustics. Finally, it was only a crisis that was overcome and the instrument continued to be the undisputed king of the stages, making its way into the market with the help of two great brands in the music industry such as Fender and Gibson.

Without a doubt, this instrument has been a fundamental element for the evolution of music. However, it is currently experiencing a serious “generational identity” problem, which is the main challenge for manufacturers. Next, we will emphasize the reason for this problem.




New musical genres invade the ears of young people

New technologies are a double-edged sword, which in the case of musical instruments has begun to take its toll.

The electric guitar, for example, seen for decades as a symbol of power in the music scene, generating explosive chords that have made the hearts of lovers of heavy metal, glam metal, power metal, neoclassical metal, shred metal and others vibrate. so many genres, today it has begun to be replaced by pre-made tracks.

There are many consoles, applications, keyboards, synthesizers and devices provided with a database in which we can find a great variety of sounds for guitar, drums, etc. This is how emerging artists do not require a band, since they only reproduce the previously edited and remastered track, presenting only their performance on stage.

We have observed this over the last few years and it is what the new generations are consuming, stages with artists who sing and dance to the rhythm of tunes that are lost under the effects of digitization.

Seen from the marketing scene, we could say that young viewers are exposed daily through radio, internet and TV to popular urban music, such as trap, rap, R’n’B or the vedettes of dance pop.

In this sense, they unconsciously begin to generate a consumption directed towards this environment, being the case of clothing, makeup and, of course, the acquisition of said record productions. Likewise, many are inclined to learn to produce these types of sounds and lyrics, but unfortunately instead of going to a store to buy the best electric guitar , they opt for digital equipment that allows them to make good mixes. This is how, due to the so-called “generational identity”, young people put aside physical instruments.


Guitar Center tries to survive the crisis of generational identity

Guitar Center is a well-known American musical instrument retail chain, present in the market since 1959 and currently with approximately 269 stores. Some years ago the company decided to attack the market in a forceful way, a bit imitating the concept of the Apple Store when it comes to the sale of iPhones. This is how Guitar Center thought that if customers can have direct contact with the instrument, then they will be more motivated to purchase it.

Each of the stores was equipped with studios, they offer music classes and even the possibility of renting the guitar. Also, upon entering the Times Square headquarters you will be able to appreciate collector’s instruments, such as a Stratocaster from the renowned manufacturer Fender, which belonged to Eric Clapton, acquired by the owners at auction for a cost equivalent to a million dollars. Definitely a magical place for any rock lover.

Unfortunately for the world of music, the debts have exceeded the income of the store, which after almost 120 years of history is on the verge of bankruptcy and at the mercy of its creditors.




The battle for old school rock is not lost

The battle for electric guitars is not lost, so it is a bit premature to consider that this instrument will disappear from the musical arena. While it is true, there is a directional gap between the old school of rock and the new generations, but it is also true that regardless of the passage of time, niches continue to exist.

In this sense, young people, despite being bombarded by urban genres, also possess a certain level of decision, which they develop by exploring different types of music. Let us remember that each musical genre contains a concept of different clothing and ideologies that have once made an impact on history and, despite apparently being relegated, sooner or later they reinvent themselves and reposition themselves again.

An example of this is punk, which caused a massive impact in its respective decade, becoming a cultural movement and that, despite the ups and downs suffered, today we can get sequels of the rhythms with accelerated tempos that characterize its drums.

The different critics of the musical field speak of the need to rescue an instrument as valuable and significant for culture as the electric guitar, promoting and launching new precursors that will once again captivate the masses.


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